Wampyrinacht – We Will Be Watching. Les cultes de Satan et les mystères de la mort

Finally, fifteen years after being recorded, Wampyrinacht’s full length debut has been unleashed upon the world. Jumping from ripping speed metal rhythms to more traditional eerie Hellenic black metal to interspersed moments of neoclassical shred, Wampyrinacht have really recorded something special and, at least to my ears, unique. The atmosphere is tremendously Greek in the best of ways despite the regular tempo and sometimes even style shifts within a song, with a doom metal dirge sometimes shifting to a keyboard-laden section of gloom to more neoclassicism to black metal again in a single stupendous long piece. “Ambitious” is probably the best word to describe the album; not content with just rehashing standard Rotting Christ or Necromantia tropes, Wampyrinacht have really shoved enough quality content into each song that attempting to describe it all individually would nearly require a section by section description, and as much as I hate schizophrenic bands that attempt something similar, Necrolord and Mantus really managed to avoid the jammed-together feeling that lesser songwriters evoke when doing something comparable.

Past the songwriting itself, some other things that deserve mention are Necrolord’s fantastic vocals and the solid production that gives the whole mix room to breathe without sounding too clean for comfort. While I don’t generally like the choice to forsake an old logo for text, in this one case it fits the sampled artwork (Luis Falero’s “Witches on the Sabbath”) fantastically, lending a nice touch of good presentation to the overall package. Classic Hellenic sounding stuff is more or less my favorite sort of black metal, and it’s great to hear so many killer additions to it this year (Wampyrinacht, Cult of Eibon, Caedes Cruenta, and more). a1693470863_10I desperately hope that this makes it to vinyl at some point, and that it gets the attention that it deserves.

Listen and buy

Ljosazabojstwa – Sychodžańnie

The occult horror of a certain type of black/death generally somewhat influenced by or otherwise in line with Mortuary Drape is one of my favorite things, and Ljosazabojstwa clearly agree, given the content on Sychodžańnie and on the demo that came before it. From the first bits of atmosphere created by a haunting organ introduction through the very last chords, everything about this EP is massive; monolithic doom-driven rhythms do combat with the vocalist’s echoing snarl, subtle keyboards occasionally provide an extra layer, and the whole package is complimented by the immense production that ties the entire package together. Ominous interludes, sometimes mid-track, build tension, and whenever appropriate buildup has been reached, well-timed eruptions launch trudging doom into ripping hellfire before spiraling back to a horrifying crawl.

Though I mentioned Mortuary Drape as a point of comparison (and a clear influence), Ljosazabojstwa are by no means a clone of anyone; chaotic tremolo melodies, pretty leads, fiery death metal, and blazing thrash merge seamlessly to form a package that fits the mood that Mortuary Drape, Necros Christos, or similar bands put me into without feeling like a pointless ripoff at any point. Though sometimes the non-metal interruptions get a bit much for me, the overall package is startlingly strong, and a welcome change of pace from the onslaught of more straightforward death metal releases that I’ve been hearing from this year so far; as a point to their credit, the interludes are well written (or well picked, for the samples), and my general distaste for lengthy and frequent interludes may well be more of a problem for me than the interludes themselves.

Ljosazabojstwa fundamentally call for a return to the occult, and I welcome it with open arms. Sychodžańnie is catchy, memorable, and excellently performed, with more than enough variety and strength of both songwriting and pacing to keep the EP interesting from listen to listen. Most great EP’s leave me wanting more from the band, and as much as I’m looking forward to hearing Ljosazabojstwa’s first full length, this is a rare EP powerful enough to merit the repeat listens and reflection to occupy me until whenever the band feels that another release is necessary.

Listen, support, buy

Ljosazabojstwa - Sychodzannie [cover art]

Perdizione / Nihtglóm – split

I’ve been finding it hard to nail down exactly what I love so much about this split, but it really tickles me on a level that’s hard to put into words. Coming from obscure New Jersey metal cult Nihil Verum Nisi Mors, this split is at its most basic level a presentation of two anonymous one-man projects of  simple and sinister raw black metal. Though it’s a split, both sides tie together sonically, filling out a package that’s been filling a hole in my listening that I didn’t realize existed.

To start with Perdizione’s side: the whole thing is extremely muffled and distant in the best of ways, pounding its fury through a layer of reverb and separation that gives the project an ethereal feel. The wonderfully simple drums drive along melodic riffs that range from unconventional melodic lines that are almost hard to identify as black metal without the context of the rest of the music to more traditional trem bits, the entire thing being as hypnotizing an affair as I’ve ever heard, whether it’s carrying you through one of the more traditional bits or through the cool solo towards the end of Diavolo Odioso’s side; Perdizione carries you off to a dream, and the darkness of the project, supposedly about Catholic hell, is as rapturous as anything the Catholics ever wanted you to feel about their god.

Nihtglóm’s side immediately stands out as being much more direct in its gloomy attack, with much less distant production and a much more straightforward take on black metal, though it doesn’t suffer at all for it. Another thing that immediately stands out is that the bass is absolutely massive, sometimes playing the rhythm by itself and sometimes playing alongside the melodies, as much at the forefront as the guitar. The melodies that Nihtgenga, author of Nihtglóm’s music, creates are huge and captivating, endlessly catchy for all of their evil. Where Perdizione makes me throw back my head and worship, Nihtglóm makes me move it, as his side of the split is much more aggressive, marking a perfect counterpart to the dreaminess of the first half of the tape. Tasteful drumming ranges from blistering double bass to laid back single beats, carrying listeners to the depths of the cold night.

I’m really hoping to hear more from these two, because this tape has really blown me away, and left me with a deep craving for more.